Have you ever heard the story about Little Miss Mindful? No? Well it starts some years ago, when she was still known as Little Miss Autopilot….
Back then she lived in a flat that didn’t really seem big enough to accommodate all of her belongings – although she always said she was definitely going to tackle all the piles of clutter one day when there wan’t something more important to deal with first… – and she worked in the City in an admin role. It wasn’t a bad job but it certainly didn’t set her soul alive. She had just sort of drifted into the position but, in between filing and typing up correspondence, she would often daydream about finding her true vocation.
She had to commute daily on the tube and she didn’t enjoy it. All the people pushing and shoving, reading newspapers in her face or elbowing her to try and make more room in an already sardine-filled carriage. But that’s just life, she thought. Most people get up and do the same tedious things every day, don’t they? I mean, nobody ever said adult life was going to be easy, did they…. She could hear the voice of her parents in the background: “You have a good job and a roof over your head…what more do you want?”
Yes, she should just be grateful and count her blessings.
Then one evening at home she was watching the film Groundhog Day on TV and the next morning she couldn’t get it out of her mind. The alarm going off at the same time every day, the same cup of coffee every morning, the same trudge to the station, the same stressful commute, the same daydreams at work about finding a more inspirational job or winning the lottery…
As she shut the door that day to leave the office, she decided to walk a different way to the station. Along the way she passed a little bookshop and noticed a small book in the window entitled Mindfulness: a guide to not living a “groundhog day” existence. Curious, she went in to have a look.
She opened the cover and found a list of questions…
Do you feel like you are existing rather than living?
Do you feel like your life is over-cluttered?
Er I guess so…
Do you ever drive somewhere but can’t remember the journey when you arrive at your destination?
Do you spend all your spare moments fiddling with your phone or checking Facebook?
Do you want to make changes to your life but that thought scares you?
Then this is the book for you…
She carried on reading, scouring through the tips and advice, and decided to buy the book. Buoyed up by the thought of improving her life through small changes she made her way home but, before she had even stepped foot into her flat, the self-doubt had already started creeping in.
She was too busy.
She didn’t have time.
She had tried to sort her life out before but nothing ever came of it.
Remembering the image from her little book, of the mind being like a restless monkey jumping from branch to branch, she acknowledged the thoughts and then let them go.
The next morning she walked a different way to the tube station, taking in the sights and sounds, and that was the only change she made for a while. Then she decided to tackle the clutter in her flat…and it wasn’t as bad as she had thought. She did a little bit each day until one day there was no more clutter to clear. It made her feel so much lighter and she realised that she had never needed all that stuff in the first place.
Eventually she was brave enough to consider looking for another job and now, many years later, though she still has to work daily at being mindful, it has become a habit.
The moral of the story is that there is a Little Miss Mindful (or Mr Mindful!) inside all of us if we give them the chance to come out.
No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams. -Maya Mendoza